Meet Emily, our Peer Group Volunteer
How long have you been a volunteer with RB Mind?
A long time! I think I did my volunteer training in 2015.
How did you come to volunteer at RB Mind?
I think I heard about RB Mind through the Vineyard Community Café.
What made you want to volunteer?
Since a childhood head injury, I still wanted to be able to work. Luckily I was offered a job in civil service through someone I know and I also did a lot of volunteer work. I still do. Currently I work as a volunteer alongside my work as a PA. I need to fill my time in a productive way and volunteering allows me to do this. Volunteering is more about engaging with people – less corporate than working with companies. My mum always said volunteer work would be good for me, and told me ‘gratitude is the attitude’.
Which groups have you volunteered with?
Crafty Minds (this Is the main group I volunteer with at the moment) – it’s an arts and crafts peer group
Supportive Minds talking group
Chatty Minds talking group
Wellbeing Walking group
Mindful Readers book group
Peer groups are groups facilitated by people with lived experience of mental health problems, do you think this has its own unique benefits?
Yes, we can all share and empathise with each other. I find it’s more comfortable to share with ‘insiders’ to disability. There’s less judgement.
Have you formed any bonds with people you work with or people that attend the groups?
I have. I recently went to the cinema with a fellow volunteer which was fun. I view some of the group members as friends and I look forward to coming to the groups.
Which volunteering activities have you enjoyed most?
The Wellbeing Walking group, Mindful Readers and Crafty Minds. I really like the vibe of Crafty Minds. It’s in the Vineyard Community Café and you get to meet friendly people.
Has volunteering helped you?
Yes because at the time, going through unemployment, I was able to fill my time volunteering with groups etc…And it’s helped me be more social.
Does volunteering help maintain your own mental health?
I feel that going out and meeting people makes me healthier mentally – feeling engaged with society.
Has your experience helped in your life outside volunteering?
Yes, I’m more confident in myself, which has helped me outside volunteering in my PA role. People want my time so I am very busy!
Would you recommend volunteering to other people?
Yes, if you have the time to do it, get in touch with RB Mind. It’s getting out and meeting people and you can match a role to your skillset. It’s less pressurised than working and can be more rewarding.
What would you say to someone who might be struggling with their mental health who worries about the social aspect of the groups?
Don’t worry – you don’t have to be social; you will still get something from the group.
For information on our current volunteer vacancies please visit: rbmind.org/about-us/vacancies/volunteer-vacancies/
For information on our Peer Group Network please visit: rbmind.org/our-services/peer-group-network/